5 tips every cat owner should know

Cats are very independent and at times they may seem indestructible. But the truth is, they are just as fragile as any other pet. Many conditions require a surgeon to fix things up. Here are 5 tips to help your cat avoid visiting your favorite vet or surgeon.

A striped cat with blue eyes

1. Keep your cat indoors

Some cat owners are offended when I suggest that they keep a cat indoors (usually after I repair a broken bone). “But he enjoys the great outdoors! It would be cruel to lock him up!” they say. I understand the concern, but sadly we live in a world that is not designed to keep our cats safe. Keeping your cat indoors can prevent many injuries that would require surgical repair. These include getting hit by a car, breaking bones or getting into a fight with a variety of animals (wild or domestic).

2. Spay or neuter

Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle can almost eliminate the risk of breast cancer and does eliminate the risk of a deadly infection of the uterus, called pyometra. Neutering males reduces the level of male hormones, making your male cat less likely to run away, mark his territory and get into fights.

3. Kitty proof

Kitty proofing is easier said than done – yet critical. Any cat lover knows that cats can get in, on and around just about anything. But you can lessen the risk of trouble by keeping potential problems away. Lock up all strings, ribbons and sewing supplies to avoid the risk of swallowing deadly “linear foreign bodies.” Clean up small toys, especially if you have young children! Hair ties are a classic culprit!

Block off windows, balconies and lofts to lessen the risk of falling. Sadly, cats don’t always land on their feet.

4. Proper nutrition

Proper nutrition can prevent bladder stones or urinary blockage, which can be life-threatening in male cats. Many popular diets with creative names do not have appropriate or any research behind them.

It’s actually a joke among vets! The marketing is brilliant, the TV commercials are convincing, but the science is often lacking.

The best way to be sure your cat is on the right diet is to ask your family vet.

5. Weight control

I currently have a patient with a torn Achilles tendon in the ankle. He weighs 24 lbs!

Overweight and obese cats can have countless health problems. The extra weight can cause wear and tear on joints, ligaments and tendons. It has also been linked to urinary blockage, which may require surgery.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling veterinary surgeon in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. An award-winning author, he loves to share his adventures in practice along with information about vet medicine and surgery that can really help your pets. Dr. Zeltzman specializes in orthopedic, neurologic, cancer, and soft tissue surgeries for dogs, cats, and small exotics. By working with local family vets, he offers the best surgical care, safest anesthesia, and utmost pain management to all his patients. Sign up to get an email when he updates his blog, and follow him on Facebook, too!